Feb. 18, 2013
• Watch Whitney Hite Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's swimming and diving head coach Whitney L. Hite spoke about the upcoming Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., among other things.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Ryan's remarks can be found below.
Question: Can you just talk about Ivy Martin and her progress throughout the year and kind of her transition from freshman to sophomore year.
Hite: Ivy performed well at the NCAA Championships last year, and I kind of challenged her over the summer to parlay that into a great season moving forward. She's done a great job. She's really started to come out of her shell and mature as an athlete and as a person. You never know when it's going to happen. You always hope it does, but she just started clicking. She started getting it and understanding what's going on.
It usually takes a little bit of time with freshmen. She's a gamer. She's big time. She likes the spotlight. Real quiet, quiet girl, just goes about her business. But she's very, very confident -- has high goals, and she's just done really, really well.
Question: With the early start this season starting in September, talk about the team's progress overall, I guess, and how the highs and lows have helped them get to the point that they are right now.
Hite: If you look at our schedule, we've had arguably the toughest schedule of any team in the country, and that's by design. I feel like, if you want to be the best, you've got to seek out the best. We did that, swimming Michigan, California, Stanford, the Ohio State invite -- a lot of the top teams were there, USC.
We've been put to the test, and that's all by design to make sure that they're ready for Big Ten and NCAA Championships. There's going to be no surprises. We've seen the best teams, seen the best swimmers. We're prepared.
At this point, it's all about just executing. We've got a game plan. We know what to do. We know how to raise -- we've been in pressure situations. The more times I can put my athletes in pressure situations, the more often they'll respond in a positive way.
We're set. We're ready to go.
Question: The demanding schedule in the early part of it, was it an eye-opening experience for any of your swimmers early. Even though you've talked about what they've learned throughout the course of the year, were some of them -- I don't want to say taken aback, but did it tell them some things?
Hite: It's always good to see where you rank. We've got rankings that are arbitrary at best. I think it's important to say, you know, if Cal has some swimmers that are the best in the country, how are we doing against them?
They've learned along the way that that's a big part of what we try to do with this program is making sure we're better each time out and making sure that, if, okay, if we had success today, why did we have that success? We didn't do as well as we wanted. Okay, what's the reason for that?
And moving forward, we have a young team. Over half of our team is freshmen and sophomores. I think about 65%. So we have a large senior class, but our freshman class is even bigger than the senior class. So we're bottom heavy as far as that goes, and it's all about educating and making them aware of, okay, why are we doing this? What's the end game? And making sure that their eyes are on the prize at the end.
Question: Talking about your bottom heavy roster, how have the seniors kind of paced and led the team this year even though they are outnumbered?
Hite: We've got two great captains in Ruby Martin and Hannah Ross. I've known Hannah for five years now. She started at Washington when I was there and went down to Arizona for a couple of years and now has been here for two. Great leaders.
We've just done a really good job of putting our seniors in positions to lead the team, making sure that they are vocal, making sure that they're helping the freshmen along the way, and understanding what their role is as far as leaders, and doing the right thing both in and out of the pool.
Question: Coach, did you have a chance to see any of the state swimming done at the Nat this weekend? If you did, what did you think? What are you thinking about some of the local schools that have such dominance like Madison Memorial, Monona Grove, and McFarland?
Hite: There were some really good performances this weekend. It's always good to see fast swimming on the high school level because that makes us better. We're kind of all in it together. I was really impressed with the local talent, and one of our priorities is making sure that the top recruits at least have Wisconsin as an option for themselves following graduation from high school.
Locking up the borders and making sure we're getting the best talent to stay in state is definitely a priority for us.